This month we were delighted to have the opportunity to chat with HDAPE and MATL graduate, Grace McCarron.
Name: Grace McCarron
Hibernia College Title of Qualification:
HDAPE graduate 2006 and MATL graduate 2015.
What made your decided to study with Hibernia College?
Even though my degree is in Business, teaching is something that I’ve always wanted to do. Living in Donegal with a young family meant that I wasn’t able to pursue teaching full time. Only for Hibernia College and their flexible online learning model, I would not have been able become a teacher. Being able to do teaching practice in my local community was great. The programme also enabled me to study in my own time and at my own pace; which really helped me as I had a young family at the time.
What are you doing now?
Well, I’m a mum of 5! So I’m kept really busy at home. Having gained a masters with Hibernia College, I am now a Lead Tutor with the College. My subjects are History, Geography and Science.
What was your highlight as a student as Hibernia College?
I loved Teaching Practice. Explaining a concept to a child in your class and visibly seeing them learn was very fulfilling. During TP, you keep in contact with your classmates a bit more for support and advice and to compare stories! Also, I really enjoyed my time in the Gaeltacht. You really get to know people from the programme much more in a different setting.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice on your first day as a student at Hibernia College, what would it be?
Take it one step at a time. Keep up to date with your study notes. Be organised and realistic with yourself. Stay motivated. Remember you get out what you put in! Make sure you have a good support network of family and friends. They will help you through the tough days. Don’t neglect your social life – it’s important to have a good study-life balance.
How do you keep connected with your fellow alumni and how important are those connections to you?
It has been 10 years since graduation and we still meet up in February every year. We also stay in touch through Facebook. I think the setting-up of the Alumni will be great for helping graduates to stay in touch.
What does lifelong learning mean to you?
Keeping up to date with current practices in education. I undertook 3 CPDs at Hibernia this summer. Doing the MATL gave me the opportunity to develop myself further, especially when I was took on the role of Tutor at Hibernia College. I think Hibernia’s online teaching style gives graduates an advantage in relation to ICT. When you think about it, students who follow the traditional route to qualification must update their IT skills themselves, unlike Hibernia graduates who have ICT integrated into their programme.
What piece of advice would you give a recent graduate of the PME Programme about to embark on the next phase of their journey?
You need to think about how you can make yourself stand out in terms of employability, as competition for teaching jobs is always high. You should promote any hobbies or interests you have which would appeal to a School Board of Management; such as musical or sporting ability. You should also highlight how studying online with Hibernia College has given you excellent ICT skills.
Do you remember your first day of Teaching Practice? How did you feel?
I felt really nervous but I had great class teacher. She was a great support to me. It’s important that you try to mix with the staff in the school. Go to the staff room at lunchtime, rather than staying on your own in the classroom. Getting to know the staff and them getting to know you will help you if are looking for subbing work in the future. I would say preparation is key! Make sure you have all your paperwork and planning done.